Remarkably there are no less than 1.3 million small businesses in the UK that are not even online. Of the businesses that do have a website, most manage to have a poorly presented and ineffective presence online. Whatever business you’re in, the Internet must be a fundamental part of your marketing strategy. You should ignore it at your peril.
There are many reasons why the web is not properly embraced by small businesses. Many business owners wrongly believe that a website is simply a luxury they can’t afford or is something that would serve very little purpose for their company. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The costs of getting online are much lower than people think. A website that will be a vital asset for years to come will generally cost no more than one annual half page display advert in the Yellow Pages or a single page advert in one issue of a trade magazine. There’s no reason for any business website to look like it’s been designed and developed on a limited budget, but it’s important to get it right the first time. Choosing a web developer based on them offering the cheapest quote might be attractive in the short term but won’t ever garner long term positive results. You should see a website as a long term investment, just as you would when purchasing a shop frontage, installing computer systems or hiring a new employee.
Having a website is very a cost effective way to advertise your business and immediately demonstrate a creditable, professional reputation and image to help gain trust. But, having a website isn’t always enough. Apart from the branding, general layout and content the most important part of a website is making sure that it is targeted and optimised so that you get visitors.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation – which put simply is the process of optimising and improving your website content in order to increase volume and quality of traffic to your site. The higher your website appears in the search results, the greater the chances that your site will be clicked on.
Most businesses that do have websites are in many cases offering little more than online brochures. They are usually impossible to find on the main search engines unless someone actually searches for them by name. A quick test on Google.co.uk for example will reveal some interesting results. Search for your own business profession or product online, including the place you are based and see what the results are. For example: ‘Colchester Builder’, ‘Physio Southend’ or ‘Vet in Chelmsford’. The first page of results should be filled with individual Essex businesses competing for position but this isn’t the case. So often there are just a few who are there by luck because of no competition. The top 10 results will attract the most potential customers, with the top spot getting most of the clicks. It’s a common misconception that it’s hard to rank high for these kinds of search terms and best of all the resulting traffic and potential customers are all free.
The number one position on Google’s search results receive 42% of the clicks. Below the top few spots, the percentages decrease drastically. If your website is appearing past page one of the search results, you are missing out on a lot of visitors and therefore potential customers. A successful SEO campaign will help your website to achieve first page positions on Google for relevant search terms. This will mean that the people, who want what your business sells, can find you above and more importantly before your competitors.
In conclusion every business should have, at the very least, an optimised website. More people are increasingly searching online for exactly what they want and if you don’t have an optimised web presence you will be making it difficult for people to find you. Not only that you will also be sending out an unprofessional message and missing out on the extra business that your competitors will definitely be taking advantage of.
If you would like to talk about marketing your business online please call us today or fill in the form on the right of the website.